EyeNet Magazine

Academy Notebook

• What’s Happening
• For the Record
• Washington Report
• Academy Store
• Meeting Matters
• Members At Large

What’s Happening

The Changing Face of Your Profession
Despite many years of changing demographics in medical schools, the demographics of practicing ophthalmologists are only recently changing. 

“We note dramatic shifts among our younger ophthalmologists, residents and fellows,” said Academy Secretary for Member Services Ruth D. Williams, MD. “While 84 percent of U.S. Academy members overall are male, a recent Academy membership survey shows that 30 percent of ophthalmologists in their first five years of practice are female.” This percentage closely resembles the makeup of ophthalmology residents and fellows.

“The ethnic diversity of younger ophthalmologists is also apparent,” said Dr. Williams. Eighty-seven percent of ophthalmologists overall are white. However, among young ophthalmologists nearly 30 percent are Asian and 7 percent are Hispanic. “The young ophthalmologists represent the future of our profession, and it is certain that we are changing demographically,” she said. 

Younger ophthalmologists also rely more on the Internet for obtaining specific medical information, for locating journal articles, for investigating job opportunities and for communication.

Although members who are early in practice use the Internet for obtaining CME credits, their preferred method of continuing education is to attend meetings and seminars.

2005 AAO member survey
Caption: The changing face of your profession. These data, which were collected from a large sample of Eye M.D.s, illustrate ophthalmology’s shifting demographics. Over the next few months, EyeNet will use other data from the 2005 survey to highlight trends in the profession.

* Respondents could pick “Other” or more than one ethnicity.

AAOE Announces Its New Board of Directors
Effective Jan. 1, the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives’ board of directors has a new chairwoman—Ann M. Hulett, COE, CMPE—and a new immediate past chairman —Walt Underwood, MBA, FACMPE. AAOE also welcomes two new board members: Pamela Andrews, OCS, and Sandra Farr.

Board members whose terms continue include: chairwoman-elect Gaye A. Baker, OCS; Ann Warn, MD, MBA; and David Durfee, MD, the Academy’s secretary for Practice Management.

For more information on these board members, visit www.aao.org/aaoesite

For the Record

Election Results
On Oct. 17, voting opened for six positions on the Academy’s 2006 board of trustees and proposed amendments to the Academy’s bylaws.

One month later, the voting closed and the election results were as follows:

  • President-Elect: C. P. Wilkinson, MD
  • Senior Secretary for Advocacy: Randolph L. Johnston, MD
  • Trustee-at-Large: Anne L. Coleman, MD
  • Trustee-at-Large: Paul Sternberg Jr., MD
  • Chair, The Council: John R. Stechschulte, MD<
  • Vice Chair, The Council: Martin Wand, MD

Visit www.aao.org/elections to see the ratified amendments to the Academy’s bylaws.

Nominate a Colleague to the Academy Board
By Susan H. Day, MD

As past-president of the Academy, it is my privilege to serve as chairwoman of the Academy’s Nominating Committee in 2006.

This committee represents a variety of interests within the Academy and is charged with identifying appropriate candidates for the open positions on the 2007 board of trustees. We are especially interested in cultivating leaders who have a clear vision of the future of organized medicine, and who reflect the strength and diversity of our members.

The Academy’s leaders should be knowledgeable, experienced and prepared
to devote the time and energy required by a large organization in these challenging times.

This work is both demanding and rewarding for those interested in helping to assure the Academy’s success and responsiveness to members. With these characteristics in mind, I ask you to assist the committee by suggesting appropriate candidates for the following positions in 2007:

  • President-elect (to serve as president in 2008). As the president-elect automatically becomes president the following year, it is crucial that nominees should be individuals who have had leadership experience within the Academy. They also should have demonstrated leadership qualities in clinical practice, in their own ophthalmic communities and in other medical or ophthalmological organizations.
  • Senior secretary for clinical education (a three-year term). This senior secretary coordinates the programs and activities of the Academy’s clinical education group, which includes the secretariat for the annual meeting, the secretariat for new ophthalmic information, the secretariat for ophthalmic knowledge and the editor of Ophthalmology.
  • Trustee-at-large (four-year term). This individual should be an Academy fellow or life fellow who is especially attuned to the needs and expectations of our members. In addition to demonstrating strong leadership potential, the trustee-at-large candidate must be willing to participate in the election process and be able to articulate their qualifications to represent a broad constituency.
  • Two public trustees (a renewable three-year appointment; a trusted advisor to and member of the board of trustees). The bylaws allow the board to appoint up to three public trustees. We currently are well-served by Mr. Humphrey Taylor and Paul B. Ginsburg, PhD. Mr. Taylor is chairman of Harris Interactive and is serving the first year of his fifth term. Dr. Ginsburg, a nationally known economist and health policy expert, is president of Center for Studying Health System Change. He will complete his first term in 2006 and is eligible to be nominated for a second term. Public trustees do not vote on Academy governance, the budget or other programmatic issues. They do, however, provide insight on how ophthalmology can better work with the rest of medicine, the public, government and industry. A public trustee should not be an ophthalmologist but should be someone who is familiar with and has a personal interest in current medical issues. The committee will be pleased to receive your suggestions for appropriate individuals, which may include physicians from other medical specialties, or leaders in industry, government, public policy or advocacy.

Thank you for your interest and participation in this process. Membership participation is vital, not only for the Academy but also for our collective goals of being able to provide appropriate, accessible, affordable eye care to the public.

I look forward to receiving your suggestions as we seek to identify the leaders among our members.

Please send your confidential suggestions to me no later than Feb. 4. You can send them by mail (Attn: Susan H. Day, MD, Nominating Committee Chairwoman, American Academy of Ophthalmology, P.O. Box 7424, San Francisco, CA 94120-7424), by fax (415-561-8526) or by e-mail (nominate@aao.org).


Seeking Outstanding Ophthalmologists
Would you like to nominate a colleague for this year’s Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award? The Academy must receive your nomination by March 13.

The award recognizes Academy fellows and members for outstanding contributions to humanitarian efforts, such as participation in charitable activities, care of the indigent and community service.

It acknowledges those who have performed above and beyond the normal duties of an ophthalmologist. 

To obtain a nomination form, please contact Member Services by phone, 866-561-8558 (toll-free) or 415-561-8581; by fax, 415-561-8575; or by e-mail, member_services@aao.org. You can also complete a nomination form online: Go to www.aao.org, click on “Member Services” and select “Awards.”

Note the New Online Location of Eye M.D. Practice Builder
Eye M.D. monthly observances can now be found within the Practice Management area of the Academy’s Web site. Download free press releases, patient handouts (in English and Spanish), posters and more.

To access these free resources, go to the Academy’s Web site at www.aao.org, point your cursor at the “Practice Management” header and select “Eye M.D. Practice Builder” from the pop-up menu.

Washington Report

Plano Lens Bill Is Big Winn for Patient Safety
In 2005, the Academy achieved a major victory for patient safety with the final passage of legislation requiring the FDA to regulate both corrective and noncorrective contact lenses as medical devices, regardless of their intended use.

The plano problem. When left unregulated, cosmetic plano contacts are sold at places like flea markets, beauty parlors and gas stations. And when kids can obtain contacts with neither a prescription nor proper instructions on safe usage, the consequences can be dire. Gail M. Royal, MD, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., first reported 12 emergency cases with significant eye problems related to nonprescription contacts over spring break 2002. The Academy responded immediately with a consumer alert. Thomas L. Steinemann, MD, of Cleveland, Ohio, encountered similar cases, including one youth who suffered a blinding corneal infection and eventually required corneal transplant surgery. He published two studies that documented the need for FDA action.

A victory for patient safety. The Academy worked closely with congressional supporters to advance legislation that would regulate plano lenses as medical devices. The stand-alone bill moved with uncharacteristic speed through the congressional process, taking only two years from its initial introduction until final passage.

In the Senate, Sens. Mike DeWine (R–Ohio) and Edward Kennedy (D–Mass.) sponsored the bill (S.172). “All too often decorative, noncorrective contact lenses, when not used correctly, have grave consequences. These are senseless injuries, and that is exactly why I sponsored a bill to begin federal regulation of decorative contacts,” said Sen. DeWine.

In the House, Reps. John Boozman (R–Ark.) and Henry Waxman (D–Calif.) sponsored the bill. On the floor of the House, Rep. Waxman publicly thanked the Academy for its work.

The bill was signed into law on Nov. 8. The Academy will monitor the FDA’s implementation and enforcement of the new rule.


Academy Store

Focal Points: Enjoy New Titles for 2006
For the latest clinical findings and step-by-step descriptions of diagnostic techniques and therapies, subscribe to 2006 Focal Points: Clinical Modules for Ophthalmologists.

Every three months you’ll receive a packet of three modules, each of which concentrates on a specific topic and can be read in a single sitting.

This year’s titles will include Periorbital Skin Cancers, Optic Atrophy, Dry Eye, Sutured Posterior IOL Implants, Managing the Dissatisfied Optical Patient, CMV Retinitis, Surgical Techniques for Ocular Surface Reconstruction and more.

Regular features include Clinicians’ Corner (a lively, opinionated give-and-take among experts) and Suggested Reading.

Sample module. For a free sample module, visit www.aao.org/focalpoints, where you can download LASIK Complications as a PDF file.

CME. Earn up to two category 1 CME credits for each module. You can earn up to 24 CME credits for the one-year subscription. It is easy to claim CME for Focal Points. After you have read each module, you can log on to www.aao.org and you will be able to claim your CME credits online.

Cost. A one-year subscription costs $145 for members and $205 for nonmembers. Or save money by buying a multiyear subscription. You can also download individual modules from 2000 through 2004. Individual modules cost $20 for members and $40 for nonmembers.

To order, visit www.aao.org/focalpoints or phone the Academy Service Center at 866-561-8558 (toll-free) or 415-561-8581.

The 2006 Ophthalmic Coding Coach Is Now Available on CD-ROM
This year, the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives is offering its Ophthalmic Coding Coach as a CD- ROM (Product #012301), as well as a book (#012201).

Both formats contain detailed content on every CPT code affecting ophthalmology. For each code, this content includes the CPT descriptor, modifier usage, diagnosis codes, RVUs for the office and facility, helpful coding clues and much more.

The CD-ROM allows you to search by code or by keyword. You can then print out the page for documentation purposes.

The 2006 Ophthalmic Coding Coach costs $195 for members and $263 for nonmembers. Buy the CD-ROM and book together and save 30 percent.

To buy the Ophthalmic Coding Coach, visit www.aao.org/store or phone the Academy Service Center at 866-561-8558 (toll-free) or 415-561-8540.

10 Hours of Practice Management Classes on One DVD-ROM
Highlights from AAOE’s 2005 Annual Meeting Courses
(#012360) is a DVD-ROM that features 10 educational presentations from the AAOE program at last October’s Annual Meeting.

The 10 courses cover coding, human resources, financial management, compliance, electronic medical records and dispensing. For each course, the DVD-ROM includes an audio recording of the course, together with the presenter’s PowerPoint slides and the handouts that were distributed to course attendees. CME credits are available for each course.

Highlights costs $149 for members and $179 for nonmembers.

To buy Highlights (#012-360), or to learn more about the 10 courses, look up the product’s listing at www.aao.org/store or phone the Academy Service Center at 866-561-8558 (toll-free) or 415-561-8540.

Meeting Matters

Las Vegas
Mark your calendar for the Joint Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, Nov. 11-14, 2006.

It will be preceded by the Academy's Subspecialty Day, Nov. 10-11, which features meetings in glaucoma, refractive surgery and retina.

Join Your Colleagues in Istanbul for the 2006 ISRS/AAO Meeting
ISRS/AAO will hold its second international meeting in May. This year it is being held in partnership with the Turkish Cataract and Refractive Division of the Turkish Ophthalmological Society. 

“International Refractive Surgery: Art and Science” will take place May 26–28 in Istanbul.

Program Directors Richard L. Lindstrom, MD, and Ömer Faruk Yilmaz, MD, are planning an exciting program on the latest innovations in refractive and cataract surgery.

If you want to attend, please note the following dates:

  • Abstracts for e-papers will be accepted until Feb. 1.
  • Advance registration will be open from Jan. 25 to April 5.
  • Register before March 1, 2006, and save on registration fees. 

For more information, visit www.aao.org/istanbul.

Members at Large

How to Train Future Leaders? An Academy Program Is Emulated Around the Globe
Since 1998, U.S. ophthalmic state, subspecialty and specialized interest societies have nominated individuals to participate in the Academy’s Leadership Development Program (LDP). This approach to grooming new physician leaders is successfully spreading to the international arena.

Europe. “The European Society of Ophthalmology [SOE] is thrilled with the kick-off meeting of its newly formed European LDP,” stated Stefan Seregard, MD, PhD,
a graduate of the Academy’s LDP who went on to design the new SOE program. “Fourteen participants held their orientation session in conjunction with the 2005 SOE Annual Meeting in Berlin, and we are excited about the program’s potential for our region of the globe.”

Latin America. The Pan American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) developed its own version of the Academy’s LDP—the Curso de Liderazgo—which is now in its third year. Last October, the 2005–2006 classes of the Academy’s LDP and PAAO’s Curso held a joint orientation session in Chicago. A second joint meeting will take place in San Francisco later this month. During this two-and-a-half-day program, they will visit Academy headquarters to meet with the Academy’s executive vice president, H. Dunbar Hoskins, MD, and its vice presidents to discuss Academy priorities and collaborations with U.S. state and subspecialty societies.

Asia and the Middle East. Interest in the Academy’s leadership programs extends to other regions of the world. Sundaram Natarajan, MD, is an Academy LDP participant representing the All India Ophthalmological Society. Ayman S. Salah, MD, PhD, and Manal Bouhaimed, MD, PhD—from Egypt and Kuwait, respectively—attended the Chicago orientation as observers, with a view to developing a similar program in their region.

Michael W. Brennan, MD, who is the Academy International Envoy and chairs PAAO’s Professional Relations Committee, and Daniel J. Briceland, MD, who is director of the Academy LDP, both agree that industry partnership has been critical to the program’s success. “Our supporters, including Allergan, Alcon, AMO, Bausch & Lomb, Novartis and Pfizer, got us on the map and have helped us expand internationally,” said Dr. Briceland.

Physicians need to become more effective in shaping the health policy environment, rather than being shaped by it, said Tebogo Kgosietsile Letlape, MBChB, who is the new president of the World Medical Association. During his presidential address, the South African ophthalmologist said, “We cannot allow politics to stand in the way
of effective handling of epidemics or disasters.”

The ninth annual Women in Ophthalmology (WIO) Véronneau-Troutman Award went to Irene H. Maumenee, MD. WIO honored Dr. Maumenee for her many contributions to ophthalmology, including her work in ophthalmic genetics, her design of an IOL for Marfan’s syndrome patients and her achievements as a teacher and role model for women.

Community Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted awarded its 2005 Focus Award to David A. Saperstein, MD.

Prevent Blindness America presented the first annual Dr. Maurice F. Rabb Jr. Award to Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM. PBA chose Dr. Seddon because of her continued dedication to AMD research, including  her pioneering work on the impact of nutrition and smoking on AMD patients and her innovative contributions to the field of genetic and environmental causes of the disease.


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